2017 Alabama football opponents from worst to best: Ole Miss


Each Monday leading up to the 2017 Alabama football season we focus on a Tide opponent from the projected worst team to the best. No. 5 is Ole Miss

The rundown of the 2017 Alabama football season started with this report on the Mercer Bears. Then we covered Fresno State, Colorado StateVanderbiltMississippi State, Tennessee and last week, Arkansas.

2017 Alabama Football Opponents from Worst to Best

No. 12 – Mercer Bears

No. 11 – Fresno State Bulldogs

No. 10 – Colorado State Rams

No. 9 – Vanderbilt Commodores

No. 8 – Mississippi State Bulldogs

No. 7 – Tennessee Volunteers

No. 6 – Arkansas Razorbacks

No. 5 – Ole Miss – September 30, Tuscaloosa

First, a reminder from our post on Mississippi State. The definition of ‘worst’ or ‘best’ is viewed based on ‘when’ the opponent takes on Alabama football. In our opinion, Ole Miss will be best early in the season.

The Hugh Freeze debacle will have an impact on the Ole Miss season. Early in the season, interim head coach, Matt Luke may have success maintaining an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality. Stating that every 2017 game would be an Ole Miss bowl game was Freeze hyperbole.

However, the Alabama game will define the Ole Miss season. Ole Miss should be 3-0 coming to Tuscaloosa the last day of September. The Rebels/Black Bears will be sky-high on emotion and potentially a dangerous opponent. Ole Miss should not be good enough to take down Alabama football in 2017 but the game could be interesting.

Ole Miss Strengths

The Rebels/Black Bears have a gifted quarterback in Shea Patterson who can run and throw. He is the type of QB that historically causes Alabama football trouble. Patterson has a deep group of talented receivers. Additionally, Patterson should benefit from having an experienced offensive line, including the highly rated sophomore, Greg Little.

New offensive coordinator Phil Longo is an “Air-Raid” devotee, who credits Mike Leach and Kliff Kingsbury as his tutors. Under Longo, the Ole Miss offense could be even more potent than the last few seasons.

Ole Miss Weaknesses

The Rebels/Black Bears have two significant deficiencies: lack of a running game and lack of defense. Of the two problem areas, the defense is the greater issue. Ole Miss has some good defensive players, particularly defensive end Marquis Haynes.

Overall Ole Miss lacks talent on defense. New defensive coordinator, Wes McGriff will rely on sophomore Myles Hartsfield and Jaylon Jones in the secondary. McGriff will also need a strong season from sophomore defensive tackle, Beneto Jones.

The problem for Ole Miss is it could improve on defense in 2017 and still not be very good. Alabama football should easily win a high-scoring contest in Tuscaloosa.

Factor in the ‘Air-Raid’ and the Ole Miss emotional intangibles and add some untimely Alabama football turnovers – well, the team that should win could be vulnerable.

Next: New SEC Offensive Coordinators among Tide opponents

While the Ole Miss game could be a shootout, the Tide should prevail. Check back with us next Monday when we review No. 4 on our ‘worst’ to ‘best’ 2017 Crimson Tide opponents.